Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 16-06: Art - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
Original Works All user written fiction from any Games Workshop setting should be posted here. Please use the drop-downs to denote which setting your story belongs.

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-05-16, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Default Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 16-06: Art

Welcome to the year's fifth






For those of you that are unfamiliar with HOES, here's how it works:

Each month, there will be a thread posted in the Original Works forum for that month's HOES competition. For those of you interested in entering, read the entry requirements, write a story that fits the chosen theme and post it as a reply to the competition thread by the deadline given. Each and every member of Heresy Online is more than welcome to compete, whether your entry is your first post or your thousandth. We welcome everyone to join the family of the Fan Fiction Forum.

Once the deadline has passed, a separate voting thread will be posted, where the readers and writers can post their votes for the top three stories. Points will be awarded (3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd) for each vote cast, totalled at the closure of the voting window, and a winner will be announced. The winner will have his/her story added to the Winning HOES thread and be awarded the Lexicanum's Crest award for Fiction excellence!

Theme

The idea with the theme is that it should serve as the inspiration for your stories rather than a constraint. While creative thinking is most certainly encouraged, the theme should still be relevant to your finished story. The chosen theme can be applied within the WH40K, WHF, HH, and even your own completely original works (though keep in mind, this IS a Warhammer forum) but there will be no bias as to which setting is used for your story.

As far as the theme goes, please feel free with future competitions to contact me with your ideas/proposals, especially given that my creative juices may flow a bit differently than yours. All I ask is that you PM me your ideas rather than posting them into the official competition entry/voting threads to keep posts there relevant to the current competition.

Word Count

The official word count for this competition will be 1,000 words. There will be a 10% allowance in this limit, essentially giving you a 900-1,100 word range with which to tell your tale. This is non-negotiable. This is an Expeditious Story competition, not an Epic Story nor an Infinitesimal Story competition. If you are going to go over or under the 900-1,100 word limit, you need to rework your story. It is not fair to the other entrants if one does not abide by the rules. If you cannot, feel free to PM me with what you have and I'll give suggestions or ideas as to how to broaden or shorten your story.

Each entry must have a word count posted with it. Expect a reasonably cordial PM from me (and likely some responses in the competition thread) if you fail to adhere to this rule. The word count can be annotated either at the beginning or ending of your story, and does not need to include your title.

Without further ado...

The theme for this month's competition is:

Art

Entries should be posted in this thread, along with any comments that the readers may want to give (and comments on stories are certainly encouraged in both the competition and voting threads!) 40K, 30K, WHF, and original universes are all permitted (please note, this excludes topics such as Halo, Star Wars, Forgotten Realms, or any other non-original and non-Warhammer settings). Keep in mind, comments are more than welcome! If you catch grammar or spelling errors, the writers are all more than free to edit their piece up until the close of the competition, and that final work will be the one considered for voting. Sharing your thoughts with the writers as they come up with their works is a great way to help us, as a FanFiction community, grow as a whole.

The deadline for entries is Midnight GMT, 30 June 2016
. Remember, getting your story submitted on 22nd will be just as considered by others as one submitted on 11th! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece! Any entries submitted past the deadline will not be considered in the competition, regardless of whether the voting thread is posted or not.

Additional Incentive
If simply being victorious over your comrades is not enough to possess you to write a story, there will be rep rewards granted to those that participate in the HOES Challenge.

Participation - 1 reputation points, everyone will receive this
3rd place - 2 reputation points
2nd place - 3 reputation points
1st place - 4 reputation points and Lexicanum's Crest

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in this thread.

Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-01-16, 12:43 AM
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For some reason I'm unable to log in to my normal account, and it doesn't recognize my email, so... made a new one.

An Unusual Canvas- 1100 Words

I’d never truly been an artist before. Oh sure, I’d tried, I’d tried hard, but never actually made the leap into actual, true, real art.

But now, today, I could feel it, as soon as I woke up. Yes, today was momentous.

The underhive was dark, all the streetlights long since destroyed. The people who lived here didn’t really venture out into the streets if they didn’t have to, which was all well and good. But today I did not feel like preying in the underhive again, like I had so many times before, so I put on my good tunic and ventured uplevels.

The canvas had to be something special, I knew that. I’d worked with the dregs of the underhive, with criminals, with vagrants, with starving children. That simply would not do, not to create true art. I’d thought about that before, but had never been quite sure, not until today. Today I was convinced. Absolutely and totally convinced.

It was a long journey up, and it took me several hours. This was of no concern, simply heightening my anticipation for what lay ahead. I did not know what I would use for today’s piece, but I was sure that I would know if I saw it. And so I made my way to the square, to the magnificent fountain that was our hive’s crown jewel.

It was wrought of a grey-green metal I did not know the name of, figures of the primarchs twisting about each other, arms outstretched towards the sky, holding aloft a golden throne- empty, as the sculptor had not wanted to portray the being of the great God-Emperor himself. Water, bright and clean, cascaded from the primarchs’ eyes, streams of tears splashing into the pool below.

It was beautiful. That, that was true art right there. It was almost heartbreaking in its perfection.

I fought down a sob, wiping a tear from the corner of my eye. Every time I saw it, I was struck in the same way- the fountain always impressed. But today I could not spend much time contemplating it, as I had my own work to do.

There were a great many people milling about the square. High-class aristocrats and Administratum workers side by side, passing by each other yet never interacting. The hive parliament building bordered the square, and the Basilica Administratum was only a few streets down. Yes, this was a good place to look.

My eye settled upon a short man, robed in grey, lines in his face deep and pronounced, as if incised with a chisel. An Administratum adept, a folio in hand, pushing through the crowd. Perhaps him, the boring paper-pushing adept, transformed entirely, given color?

No. He would not do. I did not work with males, and although I had come here for something new to work with, I did not wish to go that far. Men are far less exciting, the pitch of their voices wrong, unsatisfying. I needed something with soft flesh, something beautiful.

This is something I have learned over the years. The final product is always more pleasing, more beautiful, when the initial materials are attractive. And the final product today, it must be beautiful.

A woman, there, dress long and green. It is modest, neckline high, sleeves to mid-forearm. In her ears are emeralds to match, on her fingers many rings of electrum and bronze. But her hair- her hair is bound tight to her neck in an elaborate chignon, pinned with slender needles of the same bronze. No, despite the exquisite line of her jaw, the elegance in her throat- she will not work.

So many noblewomen here, clothing sumptuous, jewelry magnificent, but none will work. Some have their hair piled high upon their head, sculpted into wave-like forms, some have their skulls shaved clean, some wear their hair like the first. Not one, not one that I can see.

My hands, deep within their pockets, clench upon the tools of my trade. The fury rises, deep within me- but I force it down, as I always do. There will be time enough for that later.

There. Oh, there. The grace of the God-Emperor has shown me the way, for beneath the tears of Dorn there stands my subject. A female, short but lithe, her bodyglove hinting at the strength beneath. Her features are classical, cheeks full, eyes dark. Her hair is long, brown, draping over her shoulders in a glistening curtain, seeking to hide that heartbreakingly gorgeous face from me as she turns slightly to the left. The bodyglove bears the insignia of the hive parliament- she is cleaning the fountain, scooping lovers’ coins from the pool.

I had expected a noblewoman, someone of high standing, to be presented to me for my work today. But her- she was better. She was stunning, clad in her working clothes. She did not need the elaborate dresses, the expensive jewelry, the off-world makeup, she needed none of that to be beautiful. She simply was.

I find a seat on one of the benches, scattered throughout the square. It is uncomfortable, sharply-angled, made of the same metal as the fountain. It is meant to be aesthetically pleasing, rather than to be a good place to sit, but I use it all the same.

It takes seventeen minutes and thirty-four seconds until she finishes her work. I count every second within my head, enraptured by her beauty. She steps out of the fountain, the bin of coins in one hand, the tool she’d used to remove them from the pool in the other. Where shall she go now?

I stand, moving through the crowd to follow her at a distance. Not too far, not too close. The perfect distance, to match her perfection. As we exit the main square, towards the side-doors of the parliament building, I adjust my gait to match hers. Right foot, and then left foot, the synchronization reverberating deep within my soul. Yes, today would be perfect. I would finally become an artist.

I follow her into the alleyway, the one that leads to the janitorial department- there is a sign, posted upon the cream-colored stone of the building. She looks back now, eyes wide. Fear, yes, fear in those dark pools, threatening to suck me into their depths.

Perfect.

The bin hits the ground, thrones clattering onto the stones of the alleyway. She begins to run, trying desparately to get to her department, no doubt. She even runs beautifully.

The laspistol’s grip is warm in my hand, the trigger welcoming.

Finally, I am an artist.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-16, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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As a number of prominent members have had issues accessing the forum after the password resets, I'm extending June's monthly competitions until the end of July.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-07-16, 10:11 AM
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Hi,
This is Brother Emund secretly disguised as Son of Emund! I could not get into the system and have had to get in this way. waiting for all my details to be verified (check PM Dave). I have a story for this section (art) but will wait to get back on before I slot it in.
I must say it has been an absolute pain trying to get back on!

Hopefully, Brother Emund will be back on soon... hint! Hint!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-07-16, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Son of Emund View Post
Hopefully, Brother Emund will be back on soon... hint! Hint!
Mods don't have the power to fix this, and I've already asked VS to sort it, so I'm afraid there's nothing I can do.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-08-16, 01:32 AM
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Looks like I was one of the lucky ones, since I got into my account okay. Hope you guys get your accounts back soon!

Beyond the Glaring Eye

Word Count: 1092

The double doors into the Chieftain’s Hall shattered into a hundred massive splinters from the axes of Chosen warriors. A woman’s screams arrived on the heels of their iron-shod boots, which made the strange and cloudy lavender stone beneath them crack and heave. Bjorn observed the pair of Chosen drag their beautiful bounty –a fresh body slave of the slaneeshi cultists, the Wailing Siren, before him. He reclined into the embrace of the fur-draped throne at the end of the High Hall and acknowledged his chosen with a nod.


“Who is this you bring before me?” Bjorn shook his head disdainfully. “A glorified wench – am I supposed to be pleased?” He looked to Kolli, who lingered beside the throne and cut an imposing figure in his hell-forged armor. “Does it look like I can pay a thousand of my finest men with one woman alone?”


“If only they were content with sharing.” Kolli agreed. “You were supposed to find treasure, fools, not indulging in your wanton pleasures.”


The Chosen that stood on the left appeared to be at a loss for words. Bjorn glanced over the favored warrior’s plate and saw the gore soaked into the cracks. His heavy axe, which he leaned upon his shoulder, was blunt and chipped from overuse. A warrior of such caliber did not take well to being chastened like a child.


“We thought she would amuse you, my lord.” The Chosen shrugged. “But if she does not satisfy you, our warriors uncovered some other treasures hidden cleverly in this palace.”


“Hold her chin up.” Bjorn gestured with a raise of his hand. “Let me have a good look at her.”


The woman possessed an unearthly quality about her, Bjorn spied a hint of an ethereal glow on her pallid skin. Thin royal purple silk draped her better qualities, though exposed enough that Bjorn thought they might not have been there at all. Long raven hair flowed down to her ankles and covered her face in long curls.


“She is interesting.” Bjorn concluded.

Kolli snorted. “Really? You haven’t even seen her face!”

“Go ahead and bring in whatever else you found.” Bjorn snapped his fingers.


The Chosen twisted around and waved in another dozen others into the throne room. They marched in with more women in tow, all of them as beautiful and ethereal as the first. A chest full of fine rubies and gold coins from the Empire were also brought in as well. The parade ended with a dozen marauders that hauled a great painting into the throne room. Bjorn looked at the painting with undisguised disinterest. One look at the starry night sky painted across its surface and how it shone upon an elegant fountain of crimson water was more than enough. Why pay attention to the beautiful maidens that lounged around the fountain, when there was as many in this very hall?


Out of all the treasures in the room, Kolli pointed toward the painting. “You could sell the painting and keep some of the riches for ourselves. It looks like it is worth a lot in gold.”


“Noted.” Bjorn said, dismissive. “Chosen, assemble the warriors, there are debts that need paying.”


“Strange.” Kolli noted as the furthest Chosen left the room. “You see the moon painted in the backdrop? Why is it that ghastly hue?”


“Who cares, Kolli!” Bjorn said. “It’s just a useless painting. I did not think our brethren had it in them to make art. They should be glad we did not end their miserable lives while they brushed their canvases. That would have been embarrassing.”


“Let us pretend that art interests you for a moment… if you would have to derive a meaning form this painting, what would it be?”


“Gah,” Bjorn sighed, but forced himself to look at the painting. “You are a pain in the ass, you know that?”


The starry night sky definitely had a ghostly light to it, Bjorn noticed. The emerald moon in the sky was a haunting sight, shining on the maidens in the picture. Maidens that lounged around in the darkness, beside a fountain flowing with blood… Why were there no shadows of the maidens in the bloody water?


“This painting…” Bjorn glared for long seconds. “It’s almost as if these women are ghosts.”


“What makes you say that?” Kolli scratched his head behind his ear. “They just look like women devoted to the Dark Prince to me.”


“They don’t have shadows.” Bjorn continued. “See… almost like a vampire.”


Bjorn shared a glance with Kolli for but a split-second. In that moment, they shared a brief agreement between them.


The women in the painting were vampires.


The first marauder screamed to death, until his throat was torn from the meaty stump of his neck. The remaining eleven did not even have time to flinch before the women in the room morphed into twisted parodies of themselves. The vampires shredded their victims’ naked skin and tore their flesh with gouging claws. The Chosen mobilized as their lesser comrades died in droves. They were scattered around the hall and outnumbered two-to-one.


Bjorn rolled out of his throne and narrowly dodged the fangs of a blood-sucker. He slammed the back of his gauntlet across the vampire’s cheek, rattled a couple fangs loose, and cleaved her head from her shoulders in the same moment he unsheathed his blade. Kolli kicked the chest full of treasures down several stairs, and slowed another of the night-creature as it attempted to charge over jagged rubies and slipped over gold coins.

“Not the treasure!” Bjorn stooped down and swept a vampire toward him by her ankle, even as it chewed into another Chosen’s neck. As the ghastly woman attempted claw her way free, Bjorn fixed her in place with a sword through her midriff. He took the creature’s head in his heavy iron fingers and shattered the vertebrae in her neck with a violent twist.

Bjorn recognized the first body-slave to be brought in as it raked her claws across his exposed face. He shirked away from the attack, blinking the blood out of his eyes. He took a few collective steps backward until Kolli had his back. The Chosen laid scattered about the hall where they had been overwhelmed. A seething mass of vampires circled the two brothers, who stood on the steps to the throne.


Kolli grinned. “Well, this is going to be interesting.”


“Indeed.” Bjorn grimaced. “Fight together and whatever you do, don’t let them bite you! Blood for the Blood God!”

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-16, 11:06 PM
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Huzzah! I am back (said in very poor Austrian accent). Art story to follow

"Death occurs when a lethal projectile comes together in time and space with a suitable target, in the absence of appropriate armour or protection”


Check out my 40K 'Epic' about the Hunted verses the Inquisition: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...98#post2184698

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Poetry in Motion
By
Brother Emund
(1087 words)

Stroms knew that time was running out.

Deaglán was lying face down on the floor and out cold. Shallow breathing meant he was still alive, but he had taken a hard blow to the head and his condition might be serious. Critically, Juliana was bleeding out on the bed in the corner.

How did this happen?

These guys were good, some of the best he had encountered. They were hard-core, military-grade Mercs with special Ops training. No doubt there. They had caught him and his friends napping… literally, and hit them hard before they had time to react. Stroms tentatively raised his hand to his forehead and watched as blood flowed easily through his fingers.

There were four Mercs. Two were in the room with him, the third by the window and the last man was covering the door. Stroms knew that there were probably more of them in the corridor and lining the stairs.
He gave Juliana a worried look and tried to read her.

+ Juliana, speak to me +

Nothing. Her mind was blank and distant. He watched for any sign of movement but she was rigid and still. Her bright aura was fading to nothingness.

Not my Juliana, not today.

“That won’t work here Warlock,” said a heavy voice. “We know all about your mind tricks and they have been nulled.”
The Merc leader wore a re-breather which distorted his voice so he sounded like an automaton. He was wearing a black body glove with a combat rig festooned with grenades and Las clips. An autoloader hung from his shoulder and a laspistol was on his thigh.
No blade.

+ Juliana +

“That crazy bitch is dead old man. No need to worry about her,” he stepped forward and tapped Deagláns shoulder with the toe of his boot. “And as for the famous O’-fricking-Báire, he’s past caring. You are all alone now.”

Think. Time.

Was the man laughing? Was that the sound of him mocking his friends or was he coughing? Stroms could not tell, but what it did say was that the man was not a complete down-the-line, square jaw Stormtrooper-type vet. If he was laughing, it showed arrogance and contempt. It also meant that he believed that they had the upper hand and the mission was already over. The man clearly underestimated the people he faced. He did not know Morthen Stroms.

Stroms needed time, though he knew that if he did not act soon it would be over for Juliana. He needed to locate the blank that was effectively blocking his mind probes and thoughts. He would have to make time.

“Have you ever heard of Fiore dei Liberi?” He hissed through bloodied teeth, “Or perhaps Johannes Liechtenauer? Are you familiar with the teachings of Sun Tzu or Sukaina bin Maazina?”
“What are you rambling on about?”
“Careful Boss, we were warned about his mind tricks.”
The leader stepped under the overhead light and pointed a heavy-calibre carbine at Stroms chest.
“You are a very wanted man Stroms…”
“I guess I am a might popular.”
“The warrant also stated that we would get a better price for you if you were alive, so I will not kill you.” He coughed or laughed again. “However, it never stated whether the goods could be damaged or not. That means we can work on you a bit.”
“I have seen a single warrior turn the tide of a battle,” Stroms continued. “I have seen a single arrow take down a king and change history…”
“The stories. Always the stories. They said you would sprout refuse and nonsense.”
Stroms sensed the boot coming before it was delivered and rolled to his left and quickly up onto his knees.

+ About time you did something Mortern. That idiot was scratching at my nerves +
+ Juliana, Your wound +
+ Cauterized. I am not just a pretty face. Now please finish this +

In the mind of an Alpha-Level Pysker, time can be slowed down, not literally, but your super-enhanced reactions will give you an edge. If you are really good, a blank will also have very little effect on your powers.

The Merc leader reeled backwards as he recognised his mistake but it was already too late. Stroms pulled out his knife and in a fluid, flawless motion, assumed a crouched position, his knife horizontal and to the right. It was his favourite Tanith blade with a black Nalwood handle, a gift from a Colonel-Commissar that he had fought alongside many years before.

The blade flashed once, a perfect Unterhau with the blade moving from the horizontal to point upwards and into the Mercs lower intestines. Then a Mittlehau from left to right which opened him up like a finger through butter, spilling the mans guts over the floor in front of him.

He never uttered a word as he collapsed face-first onto the hard floor.

Stroms was on his feet and running at the man by the window before he realised what was happening. A Fendente, a Montante, and finally the Morteschlas, the death-blow, when the knifes pommel crashed into the man’s face, penetrating the front of the skull and imbedding itself in his brain.

A Lasgun fired but the shot was wild and panicked.

Stroms rolled to his left and went for his leg holster. As he came to his feet, he had an old Terran revolver in his hand. He fired once, the gun kicking out a heavy calibre slug that was manufactured in a forgotten Age. The second Merc in the room, a huge powerfully-built, stimm-enhanced colossus carrying a frangible breach shotgun, let out a long gasp as the round smacked into his forehead and exploded out of the back of his skull.

The doorman screamed in terror and tried to bring his Lasgun up into his shoulder. A second slug took him in the eye and smashed him against the door frame like a rag doll.

It had taken five seconds to kill the four Mercs.

“Poetry in motion.” Gasped Juliana as she finally got to her feet. “Truly a master of the art.”
“Time to go Boss.” Came the familiar accented drawl which brought an instant smile to Stroms face. O’ Báire joined him at his shoulder.
“I thought they had you?”
The ex-Guardsman tutted.
“Many have tried and failed. My, to be sure you are on rare form today.”
Stroms grinned, happy to be reunited with his friends again.
“Time to run.”
“As always…”

* * *

This is a small clip from my epic tome about an outcast called Morthen Stroms and his group of misfit friends. Thought I would slot it in here.

.

"Death occurs when a lethal projectile comes together in time and space with a suitable target, in the absence of appropriate armour or protection”


Check out my 40K 'Epic' about the Hunted verses the Inquisition: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...98#post2184698

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-16, 10:35 AM
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All is not what it seems
By
Brother Emund

(1098 words)

A shadow passed overhead and the gathered marines scrambled for cover. It was dawn, and bitter experience had taught them that this was the time that an attack would usually be mounted, either by the indigenous predators who were led by the instinct to feed, or from the horde of Orks in the fortress nearby.

Sergeant Kervran smelt burnt promethium and hot ceramic’s and gave the signal to stand down. The shadow heralded the arrival of the Venatores squad who had just returned from a scouting mission to the east of their positions.

He made his way out of the command bunker and into a walled where a hellhound was cleverly camouflaged amongst spiked bushes and thick undergrowth. A marine appeared to be in an animated conversation with a black-coated Commissar. Boudek, the Decurion in charge of the Venatores squad was a large marine even by Astartes standards, but with the jump pack on his back, he was a veritable colossus.
He noticed Kervran coming and his face opened in a wide grin.

“Bron, I heard rumours that you were in charge of this sector and thought that someone up top had obviously got it wrong. I had to come over and check that the General had not made a mistake.”

Kervran smiled back. He had not seen his battle brother for at least a month and had missed his good humour and optimism. They clasped hands and gave each other’s pauldron a friendly punch. Boudek bore the diving raptor emblem of the Venatores reconnaissance unit, whilst Kervran displayed the bloody skull of the Ferrus Pugnus assault unit. Each of them never gave the silent Commissar a second glance.

“Well, what is it?”, Kervran asked quickly and always straight to the point.
Boudek flipped open an Auspex and its small screen lit up brightly.
“We think that they are constructing a Gargant.”
“Think?” Kervran raised an eyebrow. Boudek shrugged his shoulders.
“We cannot get close enough to it. The area around the fortress is swamped with air defence systems. I lost a man yesterday when we ventured too close. The intelligence obtained from the local… unit is next to useless.” He looked at their quiet companion. “No offence meant Commissar Adelhard.”

Kervran picked up a pair of standard magnoculars and looked out across the field of desolation towards the Ork fortress in the distance. As was usual, it was shrouded in thick smoke from the many forges and machines within. He could just make out the domed shape of the Gargant but even his super-enhanced vision could not penetrate the pollution surrounding it.

“The atmospherics’,” the Commissar began, his voice deep and accented. “Make it impossible to target from orbit and our heavy guns would have little effect on its shields. My intelligence however,” he paused for a second. “Suggests that the Orks numbers have been decimated and they are, in fact, preparing to withdraw to the mountains beyond.”

The marines spared each other a quick glance.
“Your information is flawed,” said Boudek. “Their attacks have not decreased; they have increased in intensity over the last few days.”
It was now the Commissars turn to shrug his shoulders and raise an eyebrow.
“Exactly. They are doing what I would do and what generals throughout history have done. They are diversions to give the impression that they are still here in strength.”

Kervran took the magnoculars from his friend and studied the fortress for himself.
“I think you give these greenskins too much credibility Commissar, they are nothing but brute beasts.”
“And I never underestimate an enemy sergeant. Their Warboss is a rare breed who has kept us here on this rock for five months.” He waved his hand towards the distant lines. “They are withdrawing.” He then added almost casually. “A reconnaissance in force would confirm my information.”
“But what about the Gargant? We have insufficient firepower to take on that.” Said Boudek almost forlornly.
“Bring up all the Devastator squads,” Kervran cut in and then he turned to the Commissar. “Prepare the Guard for ground attack. I want everything you have. If we get there and you are wrong, we will need every gun, every missile and anything that could take it down.”
He rolled his eyes and glanced towards the sky. “Oh to have one single Reaver Titan here with us, that would even the odds.”

Kervran led his cohort of assault marines in a phalanx of matt black Rhino’s straight down the middle, all pretence of guile and subtlety gone. The Venetores skimmed low on the flanks. To their rear, ten thousand Imperial Guard troopers and two hundred armoured vehicles, strained on their leashes, desperate to be in amongst the hated orks who had held them up for so long.
The smoke had mysteriously cleared and the large, rotund shape of the Ork Gargant could be seen, towering above the Fortress parapets. There were nervous glances and whispered curses, but as the Commissar stood at the forefront of the Guard, they kept quiet and reluctantly reassured that all would go well.

Boudek came in low over a small copse of trees and was immediately on top of the front line.

Not a single shot was fired.

The marines moved quickly, scouting ahead, reporting back their findings as and when they were needed.
The messages were clear. The front lines were empty.

+ Caution Brothers. This Warboss, as they say, is cunning and good at his Warcraft. Watch your angles, cover your arcs +
+ Coming up on the fortress now. No return fire +
+ The Gargant is in view +

Kervran felt the familiar excitement and anticipation of battle. The joy of it flowed through him like raw, undiluted battle stimms.
The fortress gates fell open, unlocked and unsecured. The whole place was deserted. The Commissar was right. The Orks were gone.

Kervran moved cautiously, his Boltgun tight into his shoulder. Boudek joined him, his head swivelling from left to right, waiting for the counter-attack to come.

The walls of the fortress were lined with totems swathed in offerings and fetishes. They were topped with human heads. Paint of all colours was daubed in patterns and scribbles. Large banners with child-like depictions of battles hung from ropes and fixtures as if they were displays.

The Gargant was a gigantic model of the Ork God Gork, fashioned from wood and scrap metal and festooned with strips of coloured bunting, beads and jewels. A grinning, fanged maw stared down at them.

It was all for them. It was a gallery.


.

"Death occurs when a lethal projectile comes together in time and space with a suitable target, in the absence of appropriate armour or protection”


Check out my 40K 'Epic' about the Hunted verses the Inquisition: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...98#post2184698

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Quiet Landfall


Word Count:1042

Young Aethelion had forgotten the meaning of time again, how its essence shifted around as if a lightning pace and then suddenly grinded to a jarring halt. In all of his three centuries, the eldar child had an undeniable problem with his almost alien concentration. When would his mother appear again to chastise him? To tell him that the lights in the sky were nothing more than bright stars, and that he could stare at them for an entire millennia and they would never change?


The night sky glimmered with innumerable bright stars painted across one russet nebula. If one searched the cloudless skies for Caedyia, the moon of Dragons, one would see her lost in the midst of a thousand falling stars. Faint, jagged trails of sapphire light lanced through the atmosphere with a cumbersome speed, toward the surface of Alaria’s Sorrow.


Aethelion perched himself on the highest hill that overlooked the River-Valley of Lureth. His voice quivered from a volatile mixture of fear and awe that, though on the outside he must have seen placid and melancholic to his friends. “The stars have changed again.”


Thurenni wrapped her arms around her knees and stuck her tongue out at him. Her colorful and elegant dress rustled in a harsh breeze, strands of her golden blonde hair flowing around her face.


Thurenni grinned. “Have you forgotten our teachings from Mentor Durindesh? Only the planets could possibly move, Aethelion.”


Yelin shrugged. He appeared a shadowy sort when garbed in nothing but ebony and grey, but Aethelion knew him as another kindred spirit. “Are you saying those are planets falling across the sky?”

“No!” Thurenni shook her head and sighed. “Foolish mon-keigh! Our warriors are up there, in space, fighting some grand skirmish! Those falling meteorites are the remains of spacecraft.”


“One day I shall become a helmsman.” Aethelion gestured toward the night sky. “My father approves, but says it requires great concentration. One day my name will be uttered amongst the finest admirals of the craftworlds.”


“That would suit you, Aethelion.” Thurenni teased. “You’re spaced so much of the time already, should not require much more effort. You would be giving worlds their own fire-works spectacle! A gift from the eldar race. I imagined you more as an artist to be honest. You can draw well.”


“Why not both?” Aethelion shrugged.


For a moment, a comfortable and undisturbed silence reigned between the three eldar children. Aethelion thought that the moment would last forever, until the sirens of Arnesha’s Light began their ceaseless wailing. As if in response to the echoing calls of the siren, the first explosions from spacecraft debris began to erupt across the river-valley.


Distant calls wafted up from the foundation of the hill. “Aethelion! Thurenni! Yelin!”


“We should leave.” Thurenni said. “They’re calling for us.”


~***~


Quneth whispered soothingly from the gathered silks upon the couch. “Do you not have anything more pressing to do, Aethelion?”


“Shh!” Aethelion leaned gracefully from one side of the canvas and stared pointedly at Quneth, undressed in all of her beauty. “And do not lift a finger! None amongst my generals have alerted me to any pressing issues, so everything is going according to our strategy.”


“You mean your strategy.” She sighed. “If I were nothing more than a civilian, and found myself in the midst of this battle, then now would be a graceful time to panic.”


“Is that not the thrill of battle? Are not the eldar gifted in their dispersal of death? What warrior from the Aspect Shrines would not revel in the fury of battle? Who would not relish the adrenaline pumping through their veins, that makes one feel fresh and alive? Victory is won through resolution, endurance, and valor; not through panic.


“Panicking is something the mon-keigh are prone to do. Light their nest on fire and they will scurry into the open in a swarm. Do the same to an eldar craftworld, and watch her citizens take up arms against you and fight to the last. But I digress, and apologize, I did not mean to sound so bleak.”


“Just tell me, Aethelion, which form of art do you prefer? That of the Swordwind or—” Quneth made a masterful flip off of the couch, the power blade on the dresser almost falling into her hand as she vaulted toward him.


Aethelion dodged the honed blade by sliding one foot in front of him and falling onto one knee. The painting that mirrored Quneth in so many ways was cleaved in twain from a lightning quick blow.


“Ah—such a shame,” Aethelion muttered. He allowed Quneth to make another swing and nick the side of his neck. Before she could retract the blade, he wrapped an arm around Quneth’s arm and pulled her into a tight embrace. “I had put many hours into that piece.’


Quneth continued as if she had not stopped talking. “I think I know the answer to that question. Come, show me that ingenious mind when it is put to task.”


“Tarianna, blinds open.” Aethelion spoke to the Light of Arnesha’s integrated artificial intelligence.


The shades reclined until a sweeping view of a void battle was revealed in almost its entirety. The Imperial world of Voltanus VII writhed in flames beneath the shattered fleet of the mon-keigh. All across the entire front, massive grand cruisers and battleships were retreating into the warp. They abandoned the remains of their allies to descend into Voltanus’ murky atmosphere and their entire world to death, Aethelion knew.


Aethelion whispered under his breath, so low that Quneth could not possibly hear him. “It is a beautiful gift, is it not, Thurenni? Far more beautiful than anything I could draw with these weary hands.”


No, he would not destroy Voltanus VII. The mon-keigh had obviously learned their lesson. Biel-Tan’s armada would withdraw and leave the humans to reflect on their foolishness. He would be chastised for his failings to cleanse the planet, but the seers would not dare deprive him of his fleet. He wondered if there was anyone down there enjoying that gruesome and bleak spectacle. Distant memories stirred in his mind of a friend long lost, and he desired to create this perfect scene once again.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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